Hamlet by William Shakespeare Explicatory Essay

September 29, 2020 by Essay Writer


The paper is an essay on main themes in the play titled ‘The Hamlet’ written by Shakespeare. Themes are those issues that propel an artist whether a poet, novelist, essayist or a short story writer to write. It is worth noting that Hamlet is tragedy kind of art and it is deemed to have been written between 1599 and 1601. The play has a setting in Denmark and tells the story of Hamlet who is planning to revenge against his uncle Claudius.

The former believes that the later killed his father, King Hamlet. After killing the king who was his real brother, Claudius took over as a king and married Gertrude, prince Hamlet’s mother. Throughout his quest which eventually landed him into trouble, death together with those dear to him, several themes do come out clearly. These includes, moral corruption, incent, treachery as well as revenge (Russell 164)

It is worth mentioning that all these themes were developed clearly through various forms but mainly through characterization. Among the characters in this play include Claudius, hamlet, Gertrude, Polonius, Ophelia, Horatio, Laertes, Voltimand, Rosencrantz, Osric, ghost of Hamlet’s father, Barnardo to mention but a few


Mystery of death is one theme that clearly comes to light from the onset of the play. After the death of the King, Hamlet seems to be seriously affected by the demise of his father. He contemplates to committing suicide and viewed death from various perspectives. Many questions linger in his head especially concerning the spirits of the death, their physical bodies.

On the same note, he pondered about his own death. He even though of taking his own life, but from his soliloquy, “to be or not to be” (Edwards 21) made him not to take such an action despite he wanted to end his suffering by taking his own life. This goes hand in hand with the theme of sin and salvation, choosing right from wrong.

A second theme that is very clear throughout the play is revenge. By definition, revenge refers to a set of actions that one takes in return for being offended and injured either directly or indirectly. Before hamlets father became the king, he defeated Fortinbras father in a war.

The young man planned to quickly act to restore what he deemed was his, power to rule and the land. Different from Fortinbras, Hamlet does not take revenge action as soon as possible may be because of inadequately courage (Russell 91). Despite the fact that he succeeded in revenging, the one he fought so hard for to regain the honor are all dead, him and his mother.

Moral corruption similarly is clearly brought forth by Shakespeare in this play. We are meant to understand that king hamlet was not killed by a bite from a snake but rather from poisoning from his brother Claudius. He did this to gain the power to rule. On the same note, he married the wife of his late brother within a span of two months after his death (Russell 32).

Additionally, as a king Claudius after realizing that hamlet killed Polonius he sent Hamlet to England instead of making him face justice. Upon return, Claudius plans for Laertes to kill Hamlet

Although it can be argued that the theme of action is linked to revenge, I would like to handle it separately. In the play, a number of characters did make decision and other sort of action that can be looked at as being based o a reckless, grounds and committed in a violent manner (Edwards 45). Most of the actions taken lack proper reasoning and evaluation of the consequences they will bring.


From the review of the play Hamlet, various themes come out clearly. These include mystery of death, revenge, action, moral corruption among others. It is worth noting that all these themes were developed through the various characters.

Works Cited

Edwards, Phillip.. Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985. Print

Russell, Brown. Hamlet: A Guide to the Text and its Theatrical Life. Shakespeare Handbooks ser. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006. Print.

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